ABC 22 News Team
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Government Rights and Eminent Domain
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP -- Montgomery County is expanding Austin Boulevard in Washington Township and a family is fighting to keep their land.
"It's essentially going to eliminate our front yard," said Jennie Granato, homeowner.
On Tuesday, we spoke to Jennie Granato and her brothers.
They showed us the strip of land the county is taking as part of a road widening project.
Included in the project is a bike path that's just seven feet from their front door.
"We're trying to stop it," said Granato, "Because we live in that house we don't want people riding up and down with skateboards and all that, right under our window."
"In this case, the landowner has been offered an amount of money," said James Durham, University of Dayton professor of law, "The project, public road is exactly the type of use that almost everyone thinks of in using eminent domain."
Eminent domain was used by the county to take over the strip of land, and start work on the road immediately.
Turns out, according to the professor, that the fifth amendment right for private property only means that government must compensate the land owner but can take the property no matter what.
"Rather than taking part of the property and here the action is for a little less than a quarter of an acre, " said Durham, "The government could have taken the entire parcel of ground including the farm house."
But the family says their hearts are chained to their home.
"They're offering for a piece of dirt," said Granato, "But then you look at how this construction is going to affect our house, our quality of life, it's going to be destroyed."
The county offered the family more than 23-thousand-dollars for the strip of land they're taking.
They appraised the entire property at 232-thousand-dollars.
The family is now asking for 452-thousand-dollars and says they will have their own appraisal done on the property.
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